The word "selfish" definitely has a negative connotation.
It basically means lacking consideration for others, and being concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure. (Ouch, Webster.)
But why is this? Why do we continue to perpetually feel guilty when we cancel plans and take time to be alone?
We've all been there: You run into a girlfriend you haven't seen in years, and your conversation goes a little something like this:
Oh my god, HEY girl! I know, it's literally been forever. Yes! We should totally grab drinks to catch up, I'm free all week. Text me your schedule.
So, a few days pass, and your long-lost bestie texts you to see if you'd like to chat and catch up over topics including – but not limited to – your relationship status, your latest career choice and that new workout class that helped her drop two pants sizes.
Thank goodness she loves red wine as much as you do.
You agree to 7 pm this upcoming Thursday.
Then, the inevitable happens.
You kick off the week by drowning in a bigger-than-life project at work, and you're borrowing clothes from your roomie because who has time for laundry?
And to top it all off, your boyfriend literally JUST started having the biggest fight with you.
Sigh. You're exhausted, but Thursday night is quickly approaching.
You think to yourself, “I can't bail. She'll think I'm totally flakey, and no one likes the friend who's constantly canceling with a forever TBD rain check.”
As much as you might initially disagree, being selfish is nothing to be ashamed of. Actually, it's something I've come to envy.
I love it when I see someone stand up for him or herself by making a decision without dwelling on what the other person might think. One of the greatest freedoms in life is honoring your feelings and listening to what you need.
If you've had a hard week and know you need to press the pause button by shutting off your phone and watching a movie in your pajamas, then that is – without a doubt – what you should be doing.
Now, don't get me wrong: You shouldn't be running around telling your friends to buzz off because you need time to yourself.
But you should know just how important it is to recognize when you need to stay in, and how to not feel an ounce of guilt about doing so.
Life is full of obligations and demands. They're constantly pulling us in every which way, and we need to acknowledge the inner needs of our mind, body and spirit.
If you're anything like me, you're quite the people pleaser. I'm always overbooking myself in order to make everyone happy, and I feel like I'm running 1,000 miles a minute just to follow through on plans and meet the deadlines I've been given.
But just recently, I had an "ah-ha" moment: I realized I was spreading myself way too thin.
I wasn't taking any time for myself, and I was trying to mold my schedule to fit into what it was I thought I should be doing. The more in control I thought I was, the more I realized I had completely lost control. Everything came crashing down, and I knew I needed to make a change.
I know what it's like when you cancel and your friends give you that total bummed-out vibe. It can be easy to let your needs fall to the wayside.
But while a jam-packed scheduled might seem like the ideal lifestyle from the outside looking in, believe me: Finding time for yourself is a NECESSITY.
Cut out a night on the town from your to-do list, so you can take a breath and clear your mind.
It's easier said than done, but if you listen – and I mean REALLY listen – to what your heart is telling you, I can almost guarantee you're ready for a little R&R.
Remind yourself it's OK to take a step back and be a bit selfish, especially when things get busy.
Your happiness is a priority. If you don't take time for yourself, who will?